Thursday, July 23, 2009


Not This Again

Back around Easter, MSNBC published what is becoming nearly obligatory around religious holidays - a story about the search for the "historical" Jesus. The idea is to strip people's conceptions of Jesus of "mythology" and replace it with "rational fact."

Here is my real problem with the idea - there is nothing "historical" about the approach. Theology -- myth -- belief -- perception -- spin -- all shape history far more than mere "fact." I mean what is history? - it is the study of what went before. It is an incontrovertible fact that a "mythologized" Christ is the single largest contributor to the history of the western world in the last 2 millennia. "Demythologizing" Him does not attempt to study history, it attempts to destroy it. What utter semantic bunk to call it a search for the "historical" Jesus.

You want to deal with "facts" then deal with what is, not what in your opinion "should not have been." Or more grammatically understandable, study what was, not what you think should have been.

In the vast majority of situations we are never privy to all pertinent fact. We take what we get, we balance against our perceptual set (which includes belief and "myth") and we act. History is the study of how we act. So if we want to study history, that is to say learn about the past acts of man, the best thing to do is try to understand that perceptual set, not remove it from the equation.

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